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Woman charged with embezzling from Gainesville plant

Former bookkeeper at ZF Industries stole $586,000, officials allege

POSTED: March 9, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Charlotte Jo Baghose

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A former bookkeeper for ZF Industries has been indicted on charges of embezzling more than a half-million dollars from the Gainesville company.

A Hall County grand jury returned the 30-count indictment against Charlotte Jo Baghose, 65, on Thursday. She was indicted on one count of felony theft by taking and 29 counts of forgery.

According to court records, Baghose is suspected of stealing $586,000 from the Palmour Drive business between August 2003 and July 2007. Gainesville police claim in arrest warrants that she was "acting in the capacity of bookkeeper" at the company.

Baghose of Flowery Branch was arrested in September and released on $10,000 bond.

The indictment alleges that she forged at least 29 checks made payable to other employees, in amounts ranging from $956 to $2,528, then converted the funds to her own use. Of the 29 checks listed in the indictment, 16 were made out for exactly $1,600.

The case was investigated by the Gainesville Police Department. The department’s designated spokesmen did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Elizabeth Umberson, president of ZF Industries’ Commercial Vehicle and Special Driveline Technology division in North America, through an assistant referred questions to the company’s corporate offices in Northville, Mich.

Frank Buscemi, manager of public relations for ZF Group North American Operations, said the company couldn’t comment on the case, except to confirm that Baghose was an employee and had been terminated.

ZF Industries employs about 200 people at a 185,000-square-foot facility on Palmour Drive. The plant makes automotive manual transmissions and axle drives. In 2003, the Gainesville plant produced $86 million in finished product, according to Automotive Industries magazine.


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